How I Learned to Love to Wait

Do you hate to wait?

I used to dread waiting.

Whether at the store, the doctor’s office, or the airport, I could not stand getting stuck waiting somewhere.

I would even leave retail stores without purchasing if there was a long line.

Sometimes we can’t avoid waiting, but we can be prepared for it.

Hurry Up and Wait

The military has an old catch phrase that I learned in the Navy, “Hurry up and wait.”

It is very true when you are in the military.

However, recently it seems much more prevalent in normal society, as well.

I used to think that “Hurry up and wait” was just an old military cliché.

These days it seems to be operating motto of many businesses, doctors, and airlines.

This appears to be the standard of how many businesses operate today. Whether it is your doctor’s office or the local oil change garage.

They do not seem to mind making you wait.

The trick is to be prepared for the wait. Both when you are expecting it and when you are not.

Work While You Wait

Sometimes you have to stand in line. Sometimes you have to wait.

It’s how you spend that time that makes the difference.

If you make use of that time in a productive manner, then it is not lost.

What to do while waiting?

Here are some tips to make better use of your time while waiting:

  • Plan for the Wait – You won’t always know when you will encounter a wait. But, often you do. If you are headed somewhere like the doctor’s office or car dealership, then plan ahead for your wait.
  • Always Have Materials on Hand – I always have things to do with me, even when I am not expecting a wait. Whether it is a book to read, todos to catch up, or phone calls to make, I always have something productive with me. This prevents getting stranded with nothing to do.
  • Tasks Suited to the Wait – Ensure you have tasks with you that are suitable to the environment. For example, during a long commute you are not going to read that latest novel. However, you could listen to audiobooks or make phone calls. (with a headset!)
  • Review Your Calendar and Todo List – This is the perfect downtime to review where you are. Keep your todo list front and center. A quick review may get you back on track for the rest of your day or provide a reminder of something you had forgotten.
  • The Power of 10 Minutes – Many people underestimate the power of short periods of waiting. Thus, they waste those precious few minutes watching the waiting room TV or reading trashy magazines. You will be surprised what you can get done in 10 minutes. And you never know when those 10 will end up being 40.
  • Return Calls – I prefer to return routine phone calls during waiting time. It keeps them short and to the point. However, be aware of your environment and be polite to those around you. Not everyone wants to listen to your phone conversations.
  • Your Computer In Your Pocket – With the advent of iPhones and other devices that are truly computers in your pocket, you can now do almost anything from anywhere. From mobile banking to making dinner reservations, you can do almost anything while waiting.
  • Reading – With Kindle and iBooks, you can keep hundreds (or thousands!) of books in your pocket. I always have books in my queue to read on my iPad. In a pinch, during an unexpected wait, I will read on my iPhone, too.
  • Rest – Sometimes you need a break. But, take a real break. Rest. Breathe. Talk to a stranger. Let your mind relax.

Love the Wait

Sometimes the wait is not expected. Sometimes it is.

When you find yourself waiting, make sure that you are prepared.

You will be surprised what you can do from anywhere.

With technology, you can practically have your office in your pocket.

Whatever you choose to do, make sure you make the most of your wait time.

How do you make the most of waiting time?

12 thoughts on “How I Learned to Love to Wait

  1. I am allowed to comment on my own post? 😛

    Remembered a funny (and ironic) waiting story from my days working in Retail…

    A customer who was upset with waiting told me that he was a doctor and that he expected to be compensated for his time waiting.

    I responded by telling him that would be fine, as long as he would compensate me the next time I was in his waiting room.

    He was very cooperative after that.

  2. Oh after spending years of waiting for buses and in long queues while in college, I really learned a lot. Now I am always prepared to wait. I have my android phone, which carries my to-do list, drafts and emails to reply. I take care of them while I wait, except under conditions that I am waiting in a hospital really sick 🙂

    Jane.

  3. I am allowed to comment on my own post? 😛

    Remembered a funny (and ironic) waiting story from my days working in Retail…

    A customer who was upset with waiting told me that he was a doctor and that he expected to be compensated for his time waiting.

    I responded by telling him that would be fine, as long as he would compensate me the next time I was in his waiting room.

    He was very cooperative after that.

  4. Oh after spending years of waiting for buses and in long queues while in college, I really learned a lot. Now I am always prepared to wait. I have my android phone, which carries my to-do list, drafts and emails to reply. I take care of them while I wait, except under conditions that I am waiting in a hospital really sick 🙂

    Jane.

  5. My iPhone is an antidote for wasted time while waiting. There are many productive tasks that I can do! I can check & reply to emails. I use the waiting time to think and record thoughts or ideas on my “iPhone Notes” that I then email to myself. And I read from an ebook of my choice. I must add that I have also used the waiting periods to pray about the things that are on my mind, which for me is an excellent and truly helpful thing to do! Thanks, Craig! ~Marissa

    1. @mrsbri Agree… my iPhone is the solution for many waiting situations.

      From email, to the Kindle app, to the Web, there isn’t much I cannot get done from my iPhone.

  6. My iPhone is an antidote for wasted time while waiting. There are many productive tasks that I can do! I can check & reply to emails. I use the waiting time to think and record thoughts or ideas on my “iPhone Notes” that I then email to myself. And I read from an ebook of my choice. I must add that I have also used the waiting periods to pray about the things that are on my mind, which for me is an excellent and truly helpful thing to do! Thanks, Craig! ~Marissa

  7. @mrsbri Agree… my iPhone is the solution for many waiting situations.

    From email, to the Kindle app, to the Web, there isn’t much I cannot get done from my iPhone.

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